Moldovan state-owned incumbent telco Moldtelecom has announced plans to launch UMTS wireless services by the end of the year. The operator already provides mobile CDMA2000 1x and 1xEV-DO services, first introduced in the capital Chisinau in March 2007 under the ‘Unite’ banner. Vitalie Iurcu, general manager of Moldtelecom, said the new 3G network will offer voice and data services, as well as video telephony and mobile TV. Deployment of the W-CDMA network is expected to begin in early October. Chinese equipment vendor Huawei won a tender held earlier in May to supply the 3G infrastructure, beating off competition from Ericsson, Alcatel-Lucent Romania and SIS Solutions & Services.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, Moldtelecom was awarded a licence to use radio frequencies for the provision of 3G mobile services on 30 December 2008 by the country’s telecoms regulator ANRCETI, after paying USD8 million. Under the terms of the licence, Moldtelecom’s 3G network must cover Chisinau and Balti by the end of the first year of operation. By the end of the second year, coverage should be expanded to Comrat municipality, as well as the district centres of Cahul, Orhei, Ungheni and Soroca, and by the end of the third year the remaining 29 district centres must be covered.